Bastet: 12 Ways to Work With the Egyptian Cat Goddess of the Home
Today, Bastet is one of the more popular Egyptian goddesses. But when you look up ways to honor and work with her in your practice, there’s mostly superficial level recommendations. At least from my research. Which I plan to remedy as best I can here. In this article, we talk about her amazing, divine qualities and provide simple ways to work with the Egyptian cat goddess.
Who is Bastet? A History of the Egyptian Cat Goddess
Bastet, originally Ubaste or Bast, is the Egyptian cat goddess often depicted in Egyptian TV scenes, movies, and books. She is typically represented by the image of a cat. Or she takes the form of an attractive woman with the head of a cat. Scholars believe this goddess might have once been the Egyptian lion-headed goddess of war Sekhmet. But over time, her persona softened and she became a new deity – Bastet.
According to Judika Iles, Bastet’s cult “began in the Nile Delta swamps.” Her worship began around 3500 BC but gained popularity around 950 BC. Her major temple was at the cult center city Bubastis, where her annual festival was held. Boats floated up the Nile River traveling to Bubastis, full of women letting their hair down, so to speak, and ritually lifting their skirts to expose themselves. Sounds crazy today, but then it was a means of laughter and celebrating the female body and sexuality. The ancient festival was a time to drink, dance, celebrate one another’s beauty, and chase away illness and evil spirits.
Bastet’s Magical Domains
Bastet calls to those she feels are worthy. If you’ve been called to work with the cat goddess, consider yourself blessed! If you own a cat, you’re more likely to be chosen by Bastet. She also is patron of mothers, healers, magicians, diviners, dancers, and musicians. She rules over physical and spiritual domains including: protection of the home, women and children, marriage, protection of cats, she wards off illness, promotes fertility, and aids in childbirth. Sexuality, reverie, perfume, beauty, and war are also her domain.
Bastet is associated with the Eye of Ra, the Sun and the moon. This liminal goddess is a psychopomp – one who guides the dead to the afterlife. You can call on Bastet to protect your home and business from evil spirits and contagious disease (think of how cats are kept in barns to ward off mice, rats, and other vermin).
How Does Bastet Manifest? What Does She Look Like?
In my experience, when I’ve seen Bastet in visions and dreams, she almost always comes to me in the form of a beautiful, seductive woman. She is quite cat-like and even has a cat’s face with whiskers and nose. Yet her body is a woman’s and is typically clothed in white with a gold belt. When I’ve seen her, she’s usually standing in a desert and sort of appears like a mirage. Blurry then comes into focus. But, keep in mind, how she appears in my visions and meditations might be different from yours. In addition, when she comes to me in the physical world, it’s almost always through the appearance of a black cat.
Listen to our podcast on Bastet:
Signs Bastet Is Calling You
There are typically signs and messages sent to us by gods and goddesses when they want our attention. And they usually want our attention when they want us to be their devotees or work with them on a common goal. Here are some signs Bastet is calling to you:
- Cats start showing up everywhere
- A black cat runs across the road in front of you
- Strays start following you home and begging for food
- You hear Bastet’s name on the TV, in the movies, online, etc.
- Her name pops up in a random conversation or in a song
- You dream of a black cat, cats, or Bastet herself
- You’re drawn to Ancient Egypt and its religion/magic
- You’ve always been more of a sun person than a moon person
- You’re starting a home or family or moving into a new home
12 Ways to Honor and Work With Bastet
As you get to know the Lady of Perfumes, the way you work with her in your spiritual practice will grow and be unique to your path. Here are a few ways to get started working with the Egyptian Cat Goddess:
1. Read and Research
This will always be number one when working with any goddess, god or spirit. Read, study, and research her history, origins, read the myths she took part in. What was her role in Ancient Egypt? Her favorite offerings? Getting to know Bastet’s qualities and stories is number one in honoring her as a goddess. Unfortunately, we don’t know as much about her as you’d think we would. Start by simple Google searches and pay special attention to Sacred Texts website. You’ll find Bastet is mentioned in lots of tomb inscriptions and pyramid texts moreso than written Egyptian mythology.
2. Set Up a Bastet Altar
Designate a shelf, tabletop, or credenza as Bastet’s altar. Place a statue or representation of her there. Also a few candles, incense and burner, and a few of her symbols like the Eye of Ra and the Ankh. Giving her sacred space honors her energy and gives you a place to contact her directly.
3. Offerings for Bastet
Once you’ve set up a Bastet altar, providing appropriate offerings is another way to start working with her. Bastet, being the Lady of Perfumes, loves perfume of all kinds. Give her whole bottles OR spritz some perfume around her altar. Tell her why you’re giving her each offering. Frankincense and myrrh incense is another traditional offering to Bastet. Anything cat-related: particularly the catnip herb is a great offering too. In years past, I’ve grown it in my garden, harvested it and given her the first harvest. I’ve also found she enjoys: wine, beer, tea, chamomile and myrrh essential oils, jasmine and lavender incense.
4. Play the Sistrum
The sistrum is a traditional ancient Egyptian instrument. Bastet holds a sistrum in many of her depictions and statues. It was used in ritual in ancient Egyptian times. Purchase a sistrum online (Amazon carries them!) and play it when you’re invoking Bastet in ritual or simply to honor her. Dancing is another favored activity.
5. Care for Cats
If you don’t have a cat, adopt a cat in Bastet’s honor. Tell her that you’re adopting a cat in her name. Bastet, being the Egyptian cat goddess, adores people who are cat-lovers and owners. If you can’t care for a cat, volunteer at a shelter or rescue to help care for cats without homes OR donate items for cats: cat food, blankets, toys, etc.
Learn how to work with any of the old gods in our book:
6. Make an Egyptian Cat Goddess Ointment
Bastet’s name translates to “She of the Ointment Jar”. Which indicates she was associated with ointments in ancient Egypt. Craft a special protection ointment for Bastet, be sure to include catnip or other herbs linked to cats or ancient Egypt. Once it’s made, leave some on her altar as an offering and keep some to anoint yourself with during ritual to invoke Bastet’s protection.
7. Throw a Bastet Festival
If your friends or family is willing, throw a Bastet party! Bastet was honored in her cult center the city of Bubastic on a yearly basis. The Egyptians threw a huge festival in her honor complete with drinking, dancing, and crazy revelry! Even having a dinner party with wine and dancing in Bastet’s name would be a huge honor to her.
Bathe in the sunlight and honor Bastet, the cat goddess. After all, cats love bathing in the sun, don’t they? In the summer, throw on some sunblock and go outside. Feel the sun’s warmth and rays and know that Bastet’s energy is vibrating through you. Bask in the sunlight like a cat!
9. Celebrate YOUR Sexuality
It doesn’t matter what your gender or sexual preference is, Bastet beckons to her followers to celebrate their own sexuality. To celebrate their bodies and honor themselves, even when others don’t. By appreciating and loving yourself, all aspects of yourself, you embody the Egyptian cat goddess Bastet. She’s smiling upon you!
10. Work in the Liminal Spaces
As Bastet is a cat, she is a liminal creature and can move between worlds with ease. If you’re not working in liminal space, try it in honor of this loving goddess. This means working on your dreams, intuition, meditation and trance, and more. If you’re unsure what liminal space means, listen to our full podcast on it here: Otherworldly Oracle Official Podcast: Liminal Space.
11. Grow Catnip
An easy herb to grow and one that pleases Bastet greatly…grow catnip in your garden OR in a pot on your windowsill. Then harvest it and dry it and offer some to your cats. AND of course, offer some to Bastet. My cats go nuts for the real stuff grown in my garden…not so much for the stuff bought in the store. We enjoy sprinkling catnip over our Bastet statue and watching our actual cats go nuts for the stuff! It’s like a double offering. And we get to enjoy the reaction too.
12. Invoke Bastet in your Moon Rituals
Since Bastet is linked to the Moon, consider including her in your moon rituals. Bathing, self worship, home and hearth, and psychic abilities are all areas of enjoyment for the cat goddess. And can be worked into the esbats while invoking Bastet’s warmth and protection.
As You Get To Know Bastet…
The more you work with Bastet, the more you’ll get to know her. What she likes, how she helps you, how to invoke her in ritual, etc. These suggestions might become second-nature AND you’ll add your own magical and spiritual practices to the list. You’ll even learn things about her that no book or website could teach you. For instance, when she wants an offering or simply wants your attention, you might start seeing black cats everywhere!
More Egyptian Magick:
- Hathor: Egyptian Goddess of Love and How to Work With Her
- 9 Books for the Egyptian Witch
- Thoth: Egyptian God of Wisdom and Writing